Take note of this tale of woe so it doesn’t happen to you.
By John W. Lynch Jr.
-- This is a story of a wild season in 1996. I was hunting with my dad, brother-in-law and my dad’s cousins from Ohio in my home state of Missouri. We’d hunted all day and were headed elsewhere when I realized I’d forgot to unload my rifle.
Little did I know I was about to learn a huge lesson from a stupid mistake.
As I was unloading my Winchester .30-30, it discharged in the vehicle. My dad said, “I’m hit.”
Instantly, I was in a state of shock.
One of my dad’s cousins thought we were playing a joke on him, but when my dad stopped the vehicle in the middle of nowhere and showed him blood, he realized it was not a joke.
My first thought after the initial shock was to go find help, so I started running to the closest house, which was about a half mile away, and called an ambulance.
Then I ran back to check on my dad, who was in a lot of pain. A sheriff was on the scene. He asked if I’d had an argument with my dad and questioned what had happened. He then seized my gun.
The ambulance showed up and took my father away. We tried to follow, but the vehicle wouldn’t start. The bullet that struck the driver’s seat fragmented and severed a wire going to the fuel pump. So there we were, stuck in the middle of nowhere with my dad on the way to the hospital.
The man who lived in the house where I’d called the ambulance gave us a ride to my house so I could get to the hospital and check on my dad. Fortunately, his seat took most of the bullet, and only small fragments had hit him — non-life threatening.
I was so scared from this, I told my dad I was not hunting anymore. He said that if I didn’t, he would be very disappointed. I told him I couldn’t because the sheriff had taken my gun. He said I could use his.
He was well enough the next to drive me, my brother-in-law and his cousins hunting the next day — guns unloaded in the vehicle! — and I went out and shot the 16 point non-typical shown in the picture.
I learned a huge lesson from the ordeal. I am now a dad, and my two kids love to hunt, so I teach them safety every time we go out and practice safety in the field.
I am thankful my dad’s injury was not serious. I have hunted with him since the incident, and we still get a chuckle out of it now and then.
-- John W. Lynch Jr.